Gulf of Aden Security Review
A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.
Yemen: AQAP praises JNIM for attacks on French forces in Mali; Saudi-led coalition claims to intercept al Houthi drone launched toward Saudi Arabia; al Houthi and anti-al Houthi forces clash in Ma’rib governorate
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks hotel in Mogadishu; SNA and Southwest State forces claim raiding al Shabaab base in Bay region; Somali president holds meeting with heads of state to discuss upcoming federal elections
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula issued a statement on January 30 praising al Qaeda–linked Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen for its attacks on French forces in Mali. AQAP released a religious lecture video in early January.[i]
Saudi-led coalition forces claimed to intercept an al Houthi explosive-laden drone launched toward Saudi Arabia on January 30. The Saudi-led coalition last claimed to intercept an al Houthi drone in late January.[ii]
Al Houthi militants and anti–al Houthi forces clashed in Sirwah, Majzar, and Madghal districts in central Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on February 1. Saudi-led coalition forces launched airstrikes targeting al Houthi militants in Madghal district on January 29.[iii]
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
Al Shabaab targeted a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on January 31 using a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED). Al Shabaab gunmen then attacked the property, killing at least five people. The group claimed the attack killed 23 people and said it targeted a former Somali military officer. Al Shabaab militants attacked a different hotel in Mogadishu using a SVBIED in mid-August 2020.[iv]
Somali National Army (SNA) and Southwest State forces allegedly raided an al Shabaab base in Dinsor in Somalia’s southern Bay region on January 29, killing five militants. The SNA killed several al Shabaab militants in the Bay region’s Seydelow town on January 26.[v]
The Somali president announced an emergency meeting with the heads of state to discuss upcoming federal elections. The meeting will be held in Dhusamareb, the capital of central Somalia’s Galmudug State, from February 1 to February 3. Somali federal presidential elections are scheduled for February 8.[vi]
[i] “AQAP Praises JNIM for Avenging Insults to Prophet Through Attacks on French Forces”, SITE Intelligence Group, February 1, 2021, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 13, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 13, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-13-2021.
[iii] “Intense Airstrikes on the Ma’rib Governorate”, Al Mashhad al Yemeni, February 1, 2021, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/rss.xml; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 29, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 29, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-29-2021.
[iv] “In Formal Statement, Shabaab Identifies Former Top Somali General as Primary Target in Afrik Hotel Raid,” SITE Intelligence Group, February 1, 2021, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; Hassan Barise, “Somali forces end jihadist siege of Mogadishu hotel, 5 dead”, Associated Press, February 1, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/world-news-mogadishu-police-somalia-f847fdf056f6c5b8c44a4b86362158f1; and Samuel Bloebaum and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 17, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 17, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-17-2020.
[v] Mohammed Dhaysane, “Army operation kills 5 al Shabaab militants in Somalia,” Anadolu Agency, January 30, 2021, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/army-operation-kills-5-al-shabaab-militants-in-somalia/2128091; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 27, 2021,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 27, 2021, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-january-27-2021.
[vi] “Somali president calls for crucial meeting to discuss elections row”, Garowe, January 30, 2021, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somali-president-calls-for-crucial-meeting-to-discuss-elections.